Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Time

Lilian May was not sure about Santa Claus.
 It doesn't seem like Christmas time around here.  With the house half painted, the kitchen three quarters done, the tiling not started yet and the whole house topsy turvy -  we were not inclined to decorate this year.  We are going to have a weeks break at the beach now and have Christmas with our growing family.

It has been lovely to have a blog this year, and jot down from time to time the happenings in my life, but what brings me most fun and joy is reading other blogs and meeting other bloggers.

Wishing my blogging friends a joyous Christmas and a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Home Made Bottled Beetroot

We got to and harvested our beetroot and bottled it up one night last week.  It is very simple to do and oh so delicious.  In fact, the bottle on the right is all gone now.  
When harvesting don't cut the tops down into the actual beetroot, but leave some on.  Also don't cut off any roots as the beetroots will bleed.

You simply boil them up til a skewer goes in easily and then take them off the heat, cool them down and then once cooled, you just rub the skin away.   
Slice up and place in sterilized jars.  Into a saucepan put sugar and vinegar 1:1 (start with 1 cup, but you may need more depending on how much beetroot you have).  Bring gently to the boil, stirring.  As soon as boiled, take off the heat, cool slightly, and then pour over the beetroot in the jars.  Voila!  Done!  
Some people put different spices etc in, but I don't bother with them.
Eat and Enjoy.  

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Parties

My waist line is testament to how many Christmas functions I have been to over the past few weeks. It has been full on.
We had a lovely day at my friend Marleen's house, and such a beautiful lunch.  Marleen has her house decked out with all her Christmas wall hangings and all her Christmas craft.  It is a sight to behold and she is one clever lady.  I am blessed to have such wonderful friends.

I gave each of them a shoe bag to use when travelling, and some lavender scented shoe stuffers to match.  The shoe applique pattern was a free pattern from 'the four sisters' web page and the shoe stuffers are from a craft book I have had since the year dot.  It is from Better Living Collection and called Best Selling Food & Craft. I also put a couple of  surprises in their bags.  They gave me lots of goodies too.  Thank you 'girls'....

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Hot wind that blows no good

Today must be about 40 deg C with a hot wind factor of 50.  A wickedly hot day which is shrivelling up our garden.  The poor old lettuce have curled up their toes and I am going to harvest the beetroot this afternoon, as it is getting a bit knocked around and ancient.
My friend's poor black sheep that I mention in my last post (pictured above) was put down a few days after this photo was taken.  She was understandably upset, as they had had him for nigh on 20 years. 

Here is Joe the Painter (our son-in-law) slaving away one hot day.  Part A of the painting is now done and the green wall you see there is now a warm white colour with the dado board a nice glossy white.  It looks so much lighter and brighter.  Then there is just the tiles to go down.  Before Christmas?  have my doubts.

All the bedrooms had this wall paper frieze around the wall.  It is going (much to our childrens joy).  Not too hard to take off, just a bit of a soak with warm sudsy water and then scrape with a paint scraper.  Very messy though.
Gee I'll be glad when it is finished.  
Lesson learnt:  Never do a kitchen reno and get the house painted at the same time!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A visit to the country

This visit to the country happened a whole week ago, but with the reno and everything that has been happening around here, there hasn't been time to tell you about it.
One of our quilting friends owns this gorgeous little church about 45 minutes drive from Toowoomba. This quaint church, built in the 1890's is currently an art space, but is fully kitted out with a kitchen/lounge area, where we partook of food and fitted in a little stitching as well.
I loved all of the owners little bits and bobs and collections inside, and a lot of her deceased husband's art work. He was a talented artist and seemed to enjoy painting and drawing the female body.
In the bathroom is an old art deco theatre dressing room bench with mirror and complete with hollywood lights (worth a few visits to check it all out).  Very inspiring surrounds.  She has a poor old black sheep who is looking down the barrel unfortunately.  Poor lady really loves this sheep too.  We left with a tinge of sadness as she told us how she has to face losing her beloved sheep.  
She also owns a very cute cottage across the road from the church - but I will have to check that out next time as we completely ran out of time.  Looking forward to going back some day soon, it was a lovely day out.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Herb Garden

 We have a small herb garden outside the kitchen door.  At the moment, it needs some TLC. 
You can see how this thyme has grown wild, and the weeds are beginning to take over in the other parts of it.  I love the delicate white flowers of the garlic chive plant, eventhough we don't use the plant, it looks pretty.
   I intend to get some mulch later today at our local hardware store and work on tidying up the herb garden when the weather cools down a bit this evening.  It has been sitting on 34 deg C the past couple of days!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

This is my Life

This is my life at the moment.  The whole house is topsy turvy.  
All the kitchen stuff is spread around two rooms and it is a bit like camping but we have our very own comfy bed and our own toilet/shower.  Since this photo was taken,  the new cupboards and bench top have gone in.  Not quite finished yet though with the cabinetry.  Will show all when it is looking all spiffy (and finished!)  This may not be until after Christmas now.  Oh Joy!!  
Oh well, it will be good when it is all over.  The next step is the painting inside, tiling, and after that new carpet.  
We usually do a reno and sell the place, but this time we are going to enjoy it and ain't going anywhere.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Can't get fresher than that

Thanks to Mr Neat's methodical watering, our vegie patch is thriving.

We had the fresh beans with our grilled steak last night which led Mr Neat to saying, "can't get fresher than that"!
Straight from the garden has a unique old fashioned taste.  They taste how they used to in the good old days before long distance haulage and cold storage.

Beetroot is ready for harvesting and I am going to pickle it (if I can remember the instructions from father's wife)

Capsicum (bell pepper)  Still growing but nearly ready.


Plenty of lettuce for our summer salads.  Will share this with the neighbours!  Mr Neat did the smart thing and planted the lettuce a few weeks apart so we didn't have a huge glut.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Basting Kaffe Fassett Quilt

We are at Robyn's house in this photo - basting my Kaffe Fassett quilt.  Robyn's husband who is an engineer has designed this fantastic frame for her to baste her quilts whilst standing up.  It is brilliant.  Robyn very kindly lets us baste our quilts on it too.  It is extremely helpful when your quilt is as big as this one. 

Two colours I love at this time of year.  The flame tree with it's brilliant flame orange (sorry about the foggy picture - taken through the very dirty windscreen of my car) and the jacaranda tree.
I particularly love the purple carpet it lays down.  This carpet is from the tree just outside the meeting rooms of our quilt group. 
We have a few jacarandas in our garden, but the flowering was a bit disappointing this year.  They are still beautiful to look at though.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cough Cough Cough

Not much of anything doing around here as I cough.  Picked up an ugly coughing virus from somewhere and it has really knocked the stuffing out of me.  
Lethargic isn't the word for the tiredness I am feeling, and I am not even motivated to pick up a needle.

This little blossom cheered up my day today.  It doesn't flower very often, because yours truly doesn't look after it as she should.  One thing I did discover, after losing many African Violets, is that they don't like too much water.  Water only when dried out, and a tiny little bit of liquid fertilizer every now and then.

Tomorrow, health permitting, I am going to tack my Kaffe Fassett quilt and get it all ready to do some hand quilting.  I am on the look out for some No 8 perle cotton, I think in a variegated yellow and golds, for the quilting, and using a No 7 crewel needle as Sarah Fielke does on her quilts.  Should make the process go quicker, I hope.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


This faithful hibiscus bush continues to grow and produce it's lovely flowers despite it's harsh treatment.
Every year it gets frosted and every year I give it a hard pruning back and a sprinkle of dynamic lifter.  It survives on very little water.  It has to, as water is so scarce here.  
Hope we will continue to enjoy its wondrous display for many years to come.  

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Feathered Visitor

At 6.30am this morning we had a visitor to our garden.  It was the magnificent male "Australian King Parrot".  The scarlet on his head and chest was gleaming to almost orange in the early morning sunshine.  
We hope he calls back soon.  He was a little too far away for a camera shoot, maybe next time.. ...

There has been some work done in the sewing room, but the pace will have to pick up if I am to do all the Christmas gifts I want to get done.  Why do I always leave it til the last few weeks?  

I did make these coasters for my daughter to give her mother-in-law for Christmas.  

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fabric collage gift tags

 It's that time of year when I endeavour to make some quilty, crafty things for my friends.  I like to make them something and personalize it.  

I made these little gift cards from inspiration from the latest Quilting Arts Gifts and Quilting Arts magazine. I've made a total of 6 so far.

My version is a magpie with berries - yes, I know, you have to use your imagination.  It is my version of a magpie.  

The collage gift cards in the Quilting Arts Gifts are done by Jeanelle McCall and they really took my fancy.  The others in Quilting Arts mag are drawn using a permanent marker and then coloured and embroidered.  They are as equally cutesy and are done by Jane LaFazio.  Her designs are delightful and maybe I will do some of this type as well.  

It is trying to find the time to escape to the sewing room that is difficult.  This weekend has been quite productive but can't show all til after gift giving.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Storm Cells and food

Some storm cells are moving through our district at the moment and we are getting some glorious rain.  Hope it rains all night!
Thank you all for doing the rain dance, it seems to have worked.

I am loving these at the moment.  I made the chinese cabbage salad recipe on the back of the packet and it is yum.  
It is made with chinese wom bok cabbage shredded, flaked almonds and shallots.  You pour over your dressing which is 1/4 cup caster sugar, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2 teasp sesame oil and 1/4 cup olive oil.  They say 1/2 cup olive oil, but that is too greasy for us.  You stir this over low heat just until the sugar dissolves and let it cool before using over your salad.  Just before eating sprinkle over your fried noodles and you're good to go!

You can also do some little chocolate delights with these too.  
They are also just lovely in your stir fries for a bit of crunch, and you know what? I could just eat them as they are straight out of the packet.  (A little bit naughty...)

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

It's Hot Hot Hot

It is going to be a scorcher today.  Has it forgotten how to rain?  
This bush seems to love the heat and is flowering profusely at the moment. It is called a plumbago?  I think.  Our tank in the background is thirsty.

Isn't this quilt magnificent?  It is queen size and is all hand appliqued, hand embroidered and fully hand quilted. WOW.  It is the work of a lady in our quilt group and it has just won third prize at the Qld Quilters Quilt Show in Brisbane, deservedly so IMO.  You will also see on our blog that she won viewers choice at our recent exhibition with this quilt.

The flowers represented are a native to Australia called Flannel Flowers (common name).
All her work is original and is always hand quilted, because like me, she is not that good of friends with her sewing machine.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Flowers in a drought

It is so dry here at the moment.  We desperately need some spring rain.  There are large cracks appearing in our black soil, you feel like they are going to swallow you up they are growing so huge.
There are grass and bush fires all around Queensland and we pray no lives are lost during what I fear is going to be a savage fire season.
Maybe we all need to do a rain dance.

Some plants are still valiantly flowering in our poor parched garden.
This pink one is a cactus. Maybe the only thing we will be able to grow soon is cactusAren't the colours brilliant?  The flower only stays a couple of days and then it is gone til next year.

This is a bush we call 'yesterday, today and tomorrow'.  The flowers start off a very dark purple, fade a little to a light mauve shade and then fade right out to white.  I don't know the proper name for it, but it is beautifully perfumed as well as being pretty.

Here is something else very pretty.  Our little granddaughter.  She and her mummy and daddy have just spent the week with us while their bathroom was being renovated.  (Thus the lack of posts).
She kept us busy and entertained.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

In the Garden

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For a little while yesterday morning before it got too hot (we were told to expect around 30 deg C) I ventured into the gardenThis is the most beautiful time of year in Toowoomba.  The scent of roses is in the air and there is much to do in the garden.  It was good to get the warm sun on my arms and back as I worked and got my dose of Vitamin D.

I got some cuttings of the plant pictured above from a friend.  She gave me cuttings of this pink one,  a yellow and a purple.  I have seen them before but don't know their name.  They are a succulent. 

I love getting cuttings from friends.  Each time you go out into the garden you see the plants and it reminds you of your friend.  It is a wonderfully economical way to build up your garden also.

Wish I could spend a whole day in the garden, but unfortunately, if I did so, I fear I would not be able to walk the next day due to having Fibromyalgia.  
This condition has been with me now for some 17 years and I put it down to the after effects of a very bad virus I had back then. Because my children were young, and we were in business their was no time to slow down and recover properly, so I just soldiered on through the pain.  Now. I am still suffering the consequences, so if you ever have a bad virus, listen to your body and REST. Apart from almost daily headaches it does not restrict me UNLESS I overdo it and push my body to places it does not want to go.

Later today, I am off to meet with my little sis down town and get some retail therapy.  (After we do lunch, of course).

Friday, October 2, 2009

Vege Garden and Lack of Sewing

Usually between about 4.00pm and 5.00pm I like to hit the sewing room and do a bit.  For the last couple of days my sewing machine hasn't wanted to play.  It keeps getting loops on the back.  Not lots and lots of loops, just one every now and then.  The thing is, I am doing a chenille bath mat at the moment and I want the back to be 'perfect'.  
I have de-fluffed, oiled, changed needle, changed top tension threading and anything else I can think of.  It is driving me nuts.  Maybe it is time for a new machine!  

Mr Neat has just planted this vege garden.  He assures me he is going to be responsible for watering it.  Usually he plants these things and then has to go away for work for a week or such like and I end up having to do it.  It is also a hassle if you want to go away for a long weekend or something.  Our poor neighbour usually gets landed with the job then.  He could not be talked out of it though.  Do hope it yields better than his last efforts!
Here we have lettuce in the foreground and bok choy behind it.  Behind that capsicum and out of picture we hope to have some cherry tomatoes grown by shoving some bought ones that went a bit soft into the ground.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

You call this dust?!!?

This is a view from our property last Saturday when we had a similar, but not so big, dust storm as the previous Wednesday.   There is a hill in the background, I kid you not.  It was like a heavy blanket of fog.  

Whilst I was at the quilt show someone in our household (won't mention any names) left the living room windows open.
Today is the first chance I have had to try and dust every single object in the room and surrounds.  
This is not your ordinary old household dust.  No sirreee.  This is straight from the outback desert sands type dust.  
You wipe the surface of object/furniture, you wipe it again, you wipe it again, moving it from one place to another.  It is really testing my housekeeping prowess and it is really eating into my valuable quilting/sewing time.  Grrrr.

Baby Lili - bub enjoyed the quilt show but was anxious to show us all her new crawling skills.  Very cute to watch, but this new development has had me 'baby proofing' my sewing area in the lounge room before each visit.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Strip Chevron

Everyone who knows me knows how much I love strippy quilts and I loved this quilt at our our recent exhibition.  It is so bright and cheerful and was right beside us at the sales table where we were working most days.  
Another one for me to have a crack at.  So many quilts, so little time....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yummy Dessert

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We had this yummy dessert after dinner tonight.

I just sliced up a punnet of strawberries and a few apples, added a tablespoon of sugar and finely grated orange rind.

The topping is plain flour, butter, rolled oats, brown sugar and flaked almonds.  (The recipe called for chopped macadamia nuts, but alas I had none of these).  I have made it with the macadamia nuts and it is scrumptious. Eaten warm with ice cream and cream.  mmmmmm.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Quilt display

Our quilt club exhibition is over for another year.  We battled one of the worst dust storms in our history and still managed to come through smiling.  We had lots of visitors from all over the country and the exhibition was much admired.
In the foyer, we had a display of antique quilts from one of our members and this created a lot of interest.  They are family quilts and she had some very interesting stories to go with them.

 This one is from the 1880's (American)

From the 1970"s

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Springing into Action

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Here are some more views of springtime in our garden.  It is a wonder anything flowers in our part of the country.  We are very short on water!

This is usually a busy time for me as our quilt group, Toowoomba Quilters Club Inc.,  gears up for it's annual quilt show - Exhibition of Quilts and other Fine Arts.
If you are visiting Toowoomba next weekend for the Carnival of Flowers, be sure to drop in and say "Hi" at the quilt show.

It is at the TAFE building, 100 Bridge Street Toowoomba from Sat 19 September through to Friday 25 Sept.  Open 9.00 til 5.00 daily. 
Admission $5.00 - (Children admission free)

On another note, 
What about Kim Clijsters?
Is she amazing or what?
I think it says a lot for believing in yourself.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Stitching Day Out

Yesterday I went with a couple of friends to an event called 'Stitchers Dream Day Out" organized by a local quilt shop, 'The Quilters Angel'. 

Love those HUGE cupcakes on the table!

Those big yellow 'cake' boxes were filled with goodies.  There were four designers who designed special projects for the day, and all the patterns of their designs were in the box.  You also received a mystery project to stitch from the designers.  There were also lots of other goodies in the box such as sweet treats which was the theme of the day.
For morning tea we had the most delicious cupcakes I have ever had.  Mine was raspberry and white chocolate.  YUM.
Lunch was yummy too.  Baguette rolls with a chicken,celery and roasted almond filling and a beef roll with caramelized onion and capsicum topped with a mustard cream.  For afternoon tea we had a mini cup cake and some vanilla fudge.  Of course tea and coffee throughout the day.
It was a very well organized event, and will be on again same time next year.

This is the design which was in my box.  I will post mine when it is finished and let you know what I make it into.  Do not hold your breath for that one. We also got the fabric in our box to finish the project.  Maybe I will do a bit more on the stitching this afternoon. (Sunday)
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There is one in every crowd!  I am sure many of us have done this at some time or another.  My friend has stitched her work to the ribbon on her blouse.... the funniest part was, just as she had done this and I was taking her photo, her lucky number was called and she had to go collect her prize attached to her embroidery.  Very funny.....